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The first treaty made with the Choctaws by the United States was at Hopewell, on January 3rd, 1786; and between this and January 20th, 1825, seven additional treaties were made with them; the second being December 17th, 1801, in which it was mutually agreed between the Choctaw Nation and the United States Government, “that the old line of demarcation heretofore established by and between the officers of his Brittanic Majesty and the Choctaw Nation, shall be retraced, and. plainly marked in such a way and manner as the President may direct, in the presence of two persons to be appointed by the said nation; and that the said line shall be the boundary between the settlements of the. Mississippi Territory and the Choctaw nation.”
James Wilkerson, as commissioner of the United States; and Push-kush Miko, (Baby Chief), and Ahlatah Humma, (Mixed Red, i. e. Mixed with Red), as commissioners of the Choctaw nation, did run and make distinctly this division line, and made a report of the same, August 31st, 1803, as follows: “And we, the said commissioners plenipotentiary, do ratify and confirm, the said line of demarcation, and do recognize and acknowledge the same to be the boundary which shall separate arid distinguish the land ceded to the United States, between the Tom big-bee, Mobile, and Pascugola Rivers from that which had not been ceded by the said Choctaw nation.”
The names of the ancient Choctaws, as well as their entire race, as far as I have been enabled to learn, were nearly always cognitive referring generally to some animal, and often predicating some attribute of that animal. Such names were easily expressed in sign language; as the objectiveness of the Indian proper names with the result, is that they could all be signified by gesture, whereas the best sign talker among deaf mutes, it is said, is unable to translate the proper names in his speech, therefore resorts to the dactylic alphabet. The Indians were generally named, or rather acquired a name, and sometimes several in succession, and from some noted exploit or hazardous adventure. Names of rivers, creeks, mountains, hills, etc. were given with reference to some natural peculiarity; for the Indian had “a literature of his own, which grew every year in proportions and value; it was the love of Nature, which may be developed in every heart and which seldom fails to purify and exalt. Ignorance and prejudice call the Indians savages. I call them heroes. You and I, reader, may not know where or how they live. God does.
As before stated, the first treaty was made by the United States with the Choctaw Nation on Jan. 3d, 1786. The following” Articles of this treaty were concluded at Hopewell, on the Keowee River, near a place known as Seneca Old Town between Benjamin Hawkins, Andrew Pickens, and Joseph Martin, commissioners plenipotentiary of the United States of America, of the one part, Yockenahoma, (I give the names of the Choctaws as recorded in the treaty, and also give their corrections and significations), corruption, Yoknahoma; Orig., Yoknihumma Land, Hoommar, Red, great medal chief of Soanacoha, corruption of Sanukoah, pro. as Sar-nook-o-ah (I am mad); Yackehoopie, corruption of Yakni Hopaii pro. as Yark-nih, (Land) Ho-py-ye (Land of the war chief, leading chief of Bugtoogoloo, corruption of Bok Tuklo, pro. as Boke (Creek) Took-lo (Two); Mingohoopari, corruption of Miko Hopaii, pro. as Mik-o (Chief) Ho-py-ye (Leader as War Chief), leading chief of Hashooqua, corruption of Hashokeah, pro. as Harsh-oh-ke-ah (Even the aforesaid); Tobocoh, corruption of Tobih Eoh, pro. as Tone-bih Eoh (All Sunshine) great medal chief of Congetoo, utterly foreign to the Choctaw language; Pooshemastuby, corruption of Pasholih-ubih, pro. as Par-sha-lih (To handle) ub-ih (and kill) gorget captain of Senayazo; cor. of Siah (I am) Yo-shu-ba (as ah) Lost; and thirteen small medal chiefs of the first-class, twelve medal and gorget captains, commissioners plenipotentiary of all the Choctaw nation, of the other part.
The commissioners plenipotentiary of the United States of America give peace to all, the Choctaw Nation, and receive them into favor and protection of the United States of America, on the following conditions:
Article 1st. The commissioners plenipotentiary of all the Choctaw Nation, shall restore all the prisoners, citizens of the United States (useless demand, as the Choctaws were never at war with the United States, and never held any citizen of the United States as a prisoner, but always were their faithful allies) or subjects of their allies, to their entire liberty, if any there be in the Choctaw Nation. They shall also restore all the Negroes, and all other property,” taken during the late war, from the citizens, to such person, and at such time and place, as the commissioners of the United States of America shall appoint, if any there be in the Choctaw Nation.
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Article 2nd. The commissioners plenipotentiary of all the Choctaw Nation, do hereby acknowledge the tribes and towns of the said Nation, and the lands with the boundary allotted to the said Indians to live and hunt on, as mentioned in the Third Article, to be under the protection of the. United States of America, and of no other sovereign whatsoever.
Article 3rd. The boundary of the lands hereby allotted to the Choctaw Nation to live and hunt on, within the limits of the United States of America, is and shall be the following, viz.: Beginning at appoint on the thirty-first degree of north latitude, where the eastern boundary of the Natchez district shall touch the same; thence east along the thirty-first degree of north latitude, being the southern boundary of the United States of America, until it shall strike the eastern boundary of the lands on which the Indians of the said nation did live and hunt on the twenty-ninth of November, 1782, while they were under the protection of the King of Great Britain: thence northerly along the said eastern boundary, until it shall meet the northern boundary of the said lands; thence westerly along the said northern boundary, until it shall meet the western boundary thereof: thence southerly along the same, to the beginning; saving and reserving for the establishment of trading posts, three tracts or parcels of land, of six miles square each, at such places as the United States, in Congress assembled, shall think proper; which posts, and the lands annexed to them, shall be to the use and under the government of the United States of America.
Article 4th. If any citizen of the United States, or other person, not being an Indian, shall attempt to settle on any of s the lands hereby allotted to the Indians to live and hunt on, such persons shall forfeit the protection of the United States of America, and the Indians may punish him or not as they please.
Article 5th. If any Indian or Indians, or persons residing among them, or who shall take refuge in their nation, shall commit a robbery or murder, or other capital crime, on any citizen of the United States of America, or person under their protection, the tribe to which such offender may be long, or the nation, shall be bound to deliver him or them up to be punished according to the ordinances of the United States in Congress assembled: provided, that the punishment shall not be greater than if the robbery or murder, or other capital crime, had been committed by a citizen on a citizen.
Article 6th. If any citizen of the United States of America, or person under their protection, shall commit a robbery or murder, or other capital crime, on any Indian, such offender or offenders shall be punished in the same manner as if the robbery or murder, or other capital crime, had been committed on a citizen of the United States of America; and the punishment shall be in the presence of some of the Choctaws, if any will attend at the time and place; and that they may have an opportunity so to do, due notice, if practicable, of the time of such intended punishment shall be sent to some one of the tribe.
Article 7th. It is understood that the punishment of the innocent, under the idea of retaliation, is unjust, and shall not be practiced on either side, except where there is a manifest violation of this treaty; and then it shall be preceded, first by a demand of justice; and if refused, then by a declaration of hostilities. (But wherein is this to benefit the Choctaws, if, to the best of their judgment, “this treaty” was violated by us, and their demand of justice was refused? Could they hope to obtain justice “by a declaration of hostilities”? What a farce is such a futile attempt to display our wonderful generosity to the Choctaws, when we have openly violated every treaty made with them, whenever it was to our interest so to do, a truth we cannot deny, knowing the folly they would be guilty of in declaring war against us when we were as a thousand to one of them in every particular as to advantage. Nor have we neglected to use those ad vantages from 1786 down the passing years to the present, to the utter impoverishment and final extermination of the too confiding Indians).
For the benefit and comfort of the Indians, and for the prevention of injuries or oppressions on the part of the citizens or Indians, the United States in Congress assembled shall have the sole and exclusive right of regulating the trade with the Indians, and managing all their affairs in such manner as they think proper.
Then was inaugurated a system of fraud by which the Choctaws were completely given into the hands of a few soulless white traders who fleeced their victims at will.
Article 9th. Until the pleasure of Congress be-known, respecting the 8th article, all traders, citizens of the United States of America, shall have liberty to go to any of the tribes or towns of the Choctaws, to trade with them, and they shall be protected in their persons and property and kindly treated.
Article 10. The said Indians shall give notice to the citizens of the United States of America, of any designs, which they may know or suspect to be formed in any neighboring tribe, or by any person whomsoever, against the peace, trade, or interest, of the United States, of America.
Article 11. The hatchet shall be forever buried, and the peace given by the United States of America, and friendship re-established between the said States on the one part, and all the Choctaw nation on the other part, shall be universal, and the contracting parties shall use their utmost endeavors to maintain the peace given as aforesaid, and friendship established.
In witness of all and every thing herein determined, between the United States of America and all the Choctaws, we, the underwritten commissioners, by virtue of our full powers have signed this definitive treaty, and have caused our seals-to be hereunto affixed.
Done at Hopewell, on the Keowee, third day of January, 1786 L. S. (Locus Sigilli) Place of the Seal.
Corruption: Yockenahoma, his x mark. Original: Yok-ni Humma, pro. Yak-nih Hoom-mah Land Red.
Corruption: Yokehoopoie, his x mark. Original: Yak-ni hopaii (as, hopy ye). Land of the War-chief.
Corruption: Mingo hoopaie, his x mark. Original: Mi-kohopaii. Leader, as War-chief.